6 Important Things I’ve Discovered About Having a C-Section

having a C-SectionSince I began my C-Section research ten years ago I’ve discovered a few importing things about having a C-Section.

I’ve not only made new discoveries with regard to the C-Section procedure and how it’s changed, I’ve also seen how first time moms and moms in general perceive C-Sections and their attitudes toward other moms who have C-Sections.

Here I’ll share some of my thoughts and I invite you to add your ideas, comments or experiences as well 🙂

1. Most women don’t learn about having a C-Section.  And why would you if you don’t expect to have one?  In fact having a C-Section is a complete surprise to most first time moms.

But even for moms planning a C-Section, they generally don’t have much knowledge about the procedure and recovery. It’s no wonder most C-Section moms find their c-Section birth experience frightening, painful, and disappointing.

I confess, when I had my first C-Section I had no idea about what it would be like. Take it from me, that’s no way to have a C-Section. Learning as much as you can about having a C-Section birth can make a huge difference in not only your outcome but the birth experience itself.

Here’s something I suggest to all first time moms.

Put a little time and research into what it means to have a C-Section. I’m not saying that you should consider having a C-Section but realize that it is possible. Learn about why they occur, the procedure and the risks.  Knowing these things will help you have a better C-Section birth experience and recovery should you truly need one.

But more importantly it will also give you clues about how to avoid a C-Section.  You’ll have enough information to ask the right questions and make decisions for yourself instead of having decisions made for you.

Also if you are creating a birth plan, consider creating a birth plan that includes having a C-Section. This is important because should you medically need a C-Section you have choices for things like anesthesia, breastfeeding, caring for baby after delivery and more.

It’s always better to be prepared so you don’t have the pressure of making last minute decisions that you know nothing about.

2.  Having a C-Section is NOT easier than having a vaginal birth.  When I had my first C-Section I was scared to death. Not so much because of the C-Section itself but because I was afraid for my baby. Things weren’t progressing so I had visions that my baby or I would die or that there was something terribly wrong.  I remember the nurse saying not to worry because things would be easier now; no more pushing, no more contractions just lay back and relax.It’s true, my part was now easier but honestly, the hard part was just beginning.The difference with having a vaginal birth and a C-Section with regard to difficulty and pain is when it occurs. The pain and effort is immediate with a vaginal birth, the pain and effort is simply delayed with a C-Section. Once my anesthesia wore off the agony began.

  • It starts with adjusting your pain medication which is always a miserable process.
  • Next breastfeeding is a huge challenge. Finding a comfortable position to feed that’s right for you and baby can take days.
  • Walking again I remember was like walking for the first time. The pain was excruciating.  The physical fatigue of having surgery can be overwhelming.
  • Going home was the worst. Taking care of a newborn while recovering from surgery is something ONLY a mom can do.

3. Having a C-Section changes you physically.  A C-Section is full on abdominal surgery and it changes your body permanently in the following ways.

  • You will have a uterine incision that compromises your uterus for future pregnancies.
  • A skin incision that will leave you with a permanent, noticeable scar that for many women causes what is called a C-Section shelf which can be very difficult to get rid of. You may also experience numbness which for some women never goes away.
  • Abdominal adhesions that can cause things like bowl Obstruction, chronic abdominal pain, increased risk of bladder injury, infertility and long term health complications.

Everyone’s C-Section experience is different.  No two births are alike, that includes vaginal births as well.  Many women have horrible vaginal birth experiences and some women have wonderful C-Section experiences. There are many things that come into play for any birth.  Your age, health, fears, your doctor, physical characteristics and more. All of these things make each birth experience unique.

Saying that a C-Section birth is easier than having a vaginal birth is no truer than saying you’re a better mom because you had a vaginal birth.  Neither statement is true.

4. C-Section Recovery is TOUGH.  Just read the C-Section online forums and you’ll see the hundreds of questions and concerns from recovering moms experiencing infection, pain, discomfort, even depression.

Recovery from any surgery is never easy but it will help you to follow your doctor’s instructions and not take recovery too lightly.  Think carefully before doing things like driving and having sex too soon.

Be careful with caring for your incision at home. Most recovery problems include incision infections. If the infections go untreated you could be hospitalized and/or need more surgery.

If you have questions about your recovery or feel something isn’t right, check back with your doctor. I often see women pose complicated concerns online hoping to heal themselves through the advice of others.  Depending on the circumstances and issues they’re having this can help or it can be disastrous. Always look to professional medical assistance first. It could mean the difference in healing safely or causing further permanent health issues.

5. Walking is Essential.  You may not be thinking about walking after surgery but honestly, it will be your best friend.

I’m not saying to jump out of bed and sprint around the hospital halls; you won’t be able to do that, LOL ; -) but slow to moderate walking 10-12 hours after surgery will be your key to feeling better faster. In fact start walking after surgery and keep walking every day.  Walking not only gets your bowels moving again, it will prevent gas pain and will help prevent blood clots.

Incidentally gas pains are not uncommon in your shoulders.  Yes, you heard that right. Gas can press on the diaphragm causing the pain to extent into your shoulder.  Anti-gas meds help but walking works even better.

But the most significant thing about walking is that it will help you fight fatigue. You’ll regain your energy faster and feel more alert. It may be difficult at first to get up off the couch to go for a moderate walk, but trust me, it’s the one thing that will make you feel a whole lot better that much sooner.

6. C-Sections are Becoming Gentler.  Who would have thought that a surgical procedure in a sterile hospital setting with surgical tools and serious professionals could be a gentle, natural feeling procedure?

Well it’s true. Today there’s a push is for the ‘Gentle Cesarean‘. It’s about creating a more natural, gentler and healthier C-Section birth for both mom and baby. One that allows for bonding, is more family centered and feels a lot less like surgery.

Here are a few of the significant differences between a vaginal and C-Section birth that make the Gentle Cesarean so important.

When a baby passes through the birth canal in a vaginal birth, baby is exposed not only to healthy hormones but healthy bacteria that are significant to baby’s long term health.

Science is discovering that how we are born affects our long term health. 

A C-Section birth prevents baby from experiencing these hormones and bacteria simply because it does not pass through the birth canal.  As baby passes through the birth canal there are multiple things that happen.

1. Amniotic fluid is squeezed from baby’s lungs which help reduce the risk of respiratory distress.

2. Baby is also exposed to healthy bacteria found in the birth canal which is extremely important to a baby’s long term health. A baby born via C-Section has 1/3 less variety of these bacteria in her intestines because she didn’t pass through the birth canal.

We’re discovering that the absence of these healthy bacteria is leading to more diseases like asthma, obesity, Celiac disease and more.

3. A vaginal birth also allows for hormonal transfer which helps create for baby a more regulated body temperature and heart rate, increased bonding and more successful chance of breastfeeding.

Because a C-Section baby does not experience these bacterial and hormonal transfers the Natural Cesarean is quickly becoming an important part of the C-Section birth. These bacterial and hormonal transfers are now being simulated for baby creating a healthier birth.

Check out this eye opening video called mircobirth:
http://www.oneworldbirth.net/microbirth/

Finally, there’s a lot to learn about having a C-Section and there are lots of options to think about including finding ways to avoid having a C-Section.

Overall, having a vaginal birth is the best thing for all involved, but when a vaginal birth is not medically possible and lives and health are at stake C-Sections are a safe alternative.  But first learn about the procedure, understand the risks, avoid misconceptions and negative accusations, understand what it takes to recover well and keep the lines of communication open with your doctor.

Be well and blessings,
Elizabeth

Photo courtesy of marin and Freedigitalphotos.net

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